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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, May 2, 2001

Small colleges
BYU-Hawai'i serves up tennis regionals

By Michael Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer

Brigham Young Hawai'i's La'ie campus will be the epicenter of small college tennis this weekend as the Seasiders and Hawai'i Pacific play host to four NCAA Division II West Regional matches.

Seasider Petra Gaspar is the nation's No. 1 player.

Advertiser library photo • Oct. 21, 2000

The action begins Friday at 10 a.m. as the Hawai'i-Hilo women's team (10-10) takes on Grand Canyon. Also Friday, the No. 2 BYUH men (27-2) will face either Cal Poly Pomona or UC San Diego.

On Saturday, the top-ranked BYUH women's team (32-0) — featuring the nation's No. 1 singles player, Petra Gaspar — will play the winner of the UH-Hilo/Grand Canyon match in the regional final. If the Seasiders win, it will be their 100th consecutive victory, a feat unprecedented at any level of NCAA tennis.

HPU, which does not have its own tennis facility, will play "host" to the remaining two matches at BYUH.

At 11 a.m., the Sea Warrior men's team (13-2) will play either Sonoma State or UC Davis. The Lady Sea Warriors (13-6) play UC San Diego at 2 p.m.

Regional finals winners will advance to the 16-team, single-elimination NCAA II National Championships at Pensacola, Fla.

"I don't think there's anything magical about Saturday's match," BYUH coach Dave Porter said of the women's potential 100th win. "I do think, though, that none of them want the streak to end while they're here, and definitely not with a game they themselves lose."

Both BYUH teams are recovering from injuries suffered during a grueling Florida road trip last month.

"To win the regionals, we just have to play consistently," Porter said. "To win the nationals, it takes staying healthy, getting a good draw — a lot of things that we can't control right now. We need to focus on Saturday."

HPU coach Henry Somerville is also working on helping his similarly banged up team focus on the match at hand.

"It's single elimination now," he said. "It's all or nothing and we have to put our best attempts on the line."

The Sea Warrior men are used to dealing with injuries. They lost their No. 1 singles player, Matey Pampulov, to a rotator cuff injury early in the season. In his absence, fellow freshman Mikael Maatta has emerged as the No. 1 singles player in the country.

• • •


• Academic team: Seven women and six men from Hawai'i's small colleges have been named to the PacWest Academic Tennis team.

The 16-player women's team includes HPU's Fleurette Miranti (3.59 GPA, computer science), Bianca Barreto (3.55) and Lisa Blomme (3.45, computer science); Chaminade's Kelly Yamasaki (3.60) and Dayna Sato (3.26 biology); BYUH's Petra Gaspar (3.36, hospitality and tourism); and UH-Hilo's Lara Hornbuckle (3.95, business administration).

The 12-player men's team included HPU's Wojtek Bratek (4.00, management), Kristian Nielsen (3.87, business economics) and Jan Tribler (3.60, travel industry management); BYUH's Eddie Merc (3.76, international business) and Logan Wooley (3.55, international business and Chinese); and Chaminade's Kiernan McCartney (3.24, computer science).

• • •


• Conference honors: HPU second baseman Samee Fernandez was named to the PacWest's All-Conference Softball Team, which was announced yesterday.

The senior from Kane'ohe was the only Pacific Division player selected to the 14-player first team. Central Washington shortstop Jill Powell was named Player of the Year; Humboldt State's Jessame Kendall was selected Pitcher of the Year.

Hawai'i teams placed seven players on the All-Conference second team: HPU's Ashelle Acosta, Holly Garcia and Kristin Fujii; UH-Hilo's Taysha Anderson and Nancy Vega; and Chaminade's Anuhea Kekauoha and Christine Pascua.

Fernandez is hitting just .263 this season but her ability to get on base and near-flawless defense have been instrumental as the Sea Warriors (33-13, 18-6 PacWest) won their third consecutive Pacific Division title.

The four-year starter leads the team in walks (16), hit-by-pitch (8) and sacrifice bunts (15). She's committed just one error in 251 chances this season, and two in 459 over the last two seasons. HPU is currently the No. 3 fielding team in NCAA Division II.

As a freshman, Fernandez was pressed into duty at third base. She played shortstop as a sophomore before moving to her natural position at second in her junior year.

"She's very versatile and she's an outstanding fielder," said HPU coach Howard Okita. "We couldn't ask for anything else."

The Sea Warriors will travel to Bellingham, Wash., for the PacWest playoffs Friday and Saturday. Seeded last in the four-team tournament, they will face top-seeded Humboldt State on Friday.

• Nihei resigns: Chaminade softball coach Allison Nihei resigned yesterday to accept a position with the Honolulu Fire Department.

"Allison had a tremendous impact on our program during her tenure," said Chaminade athletic director Aaron Griess. "She really got us over the hump in terms of our level of success, and we're very happy with her contributions."

Nihei compiled a record of 55-70 over three years with the program. The Silverswords were 18-23 this season.

The school is accepting applications for the part-time position. Applicants are asked to send a resume, cover letter and references to Chaminade University, 3140 Wai'alae Avenue, Honolulu, HI 96816, attn: Head Softball Coach.

Deadline for applications is May 14.